Current Affairs 11th March, 2019


Topics Covered

1. Indian History

2. Art and Culture

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology 

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What to read?

Prelims – About the Institute and its purpose, About Deendayal Upadhyaya

The Prime Minister inaugurated the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh today. He also unveiled a statue of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya at the campus. Later he also visited the Deendayal Museum in the Institute campus.

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology

  • The state-of-the-art institute, built at an estimated cost of Rs. 289 crore is spread  over 25 acres. The 3 star ultra modern green building of the Institute is equipped with all latest technologies. The Institute comprises of an auditorium with seating capacity of 1000 people, an open air theatre and an Archaeological Museum.

  • The Institute of Archaeology (IA) is an academic wing of ASI under the Ministry of Culture. In the Institute , the students are provided with a supportive, enthusiastic and challenging academic atmosphere which enables them to achieve their full potential in the field of Archaeology.

Country’s biggest airport to come at Noida

The country’s biggest airport is being built in Jewar, in Uttar Pradesh. Once completed, Jewar airport will not only bring ease of living but also will be economically beneficial to Uttar Pradesh.

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya

  • Deendayal Upadhyaya was born in a poor family in Nagla Chandrabhaan village near Mathura, UP, on 25 September, 1916.

  • He was introduced to RSS and became a full timer in the late 1930s.

  • Deendayal was a prolific writer and a successful editor. He wrote a number of books including Samrat Chandragupt and Jagatguru Shankaracharya, and an analysis of the Five Year plans in India.

  • He was deputed to work in the Jana Sangh by Golwalkar when the party was founded in 1951 by Dr Syama Prasad Mukherjee. From then till 1967 he remained the Jana Sangh All India General Secretary.

  • It was during this time that he propounded the political philosophy of Integral Humanism. It is now 50 years since the Jana Sangh adopted Integral Humanism as its political-economic manifesto.

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  • Deendayal Upadhyaya died on February 11, 1968 under mysterious circumstances at the age 52. The murder of Pandit Deendayal still remains unresolved.


Topics Covered

1. Election

Election Commission asks for greater usage of VVPAT

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What to read?

Prelims – VVPAT

Mains – Advantages and Concerns in the usage of VVPAT

Chief Election Commissioner said the committee of experts from the Indian Statistical Institute, constituted to determine a feasible threshold for counting of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips, would submit its report before the conclusion of the Lok Sabha election process.


  • In February,2019, leaders of Opposition parties had approached the Election Commission (EC) expressing concerns over the possibility of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) being tampered with.

  • They demanded that 50% of the EVM results be matched and cross-checked with VVPAT slips before declaring the Lok Sabha election results.

  • Stating that the matter was also pending in the Supreme Court, the EC had started counting VVPAT slips at one polling station per Assembly constituency.

  • However, as the political parties and other stakeholders raised the issue of counting more VVPAT slips, the Commission appointed a high-powered committee from the Indian Statistical Institute to look into the issue.


The Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail is a method that provides feedback to voters.

  • It is an independent verification printer machine and is attached to electronic voting machines.

  • It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.

VVPAT and its working model

When a voter presses a button in the EVM, a paper slip is printed through the VVPAT.

  • The slip contains the poll symbol and name of the candidate.

  • It allows the voter to verify his/her choice.  After being visible to the voter from a glass case in the VVPAT for seven seconds, the ballot slip will be cut and dropped into the drop box in the VVPAT machine and a beep will be heard.

  • VVPAT machines can be accessed by polling officers only.

VVPAT is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip dropped in a box but the voter cannot take it home.

Advantages in VVPATs

  • Enables to verify vote: Instant feedback to voter that vote polled has been allocated to the intended candidate

  • Enables authorities to count the votes manually if there is a dispute in the electronically polled votes

  • Operates under a Direct Recording Election system (DRE) which detects fraud and existent malfunctions

  • Will ensure greater transparency in voting process

Concerns in implementation of VVPATs

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  • Since the implementation of the VVPAT system, machine malfunction and subsequent delays in polling have been recurring issues. Close to 4.2% of the VVPAT machines deployed in the Karnataka Assembly elections developed glitches during the testing as well as polling processes.

  • The overall fault rate was as high as 11.6% in the by-elections held in four parliamentary and nine Assembly constituencies.

  • The ECI has suggested that these machines were more prone to malfunctioning due to their sensitivity to extreme weather conditions and exposure to light.

  • It also blamed the relative inexperience of polling officers handling them, compared to the ballot and control units for the electronic voting machines (EVMs) that have been in use for much longer.

VVPATs to achieve Zero Glitches

  • combination of safeguards ensures that these machines are fully tamper-proof. Broadly, these can be summed up in four categories:  

  • Software and Technical, Administrative, Independent technical watchdog oversight, and Judicial scrutiny.



Topics Covered

1. Governance

India Urban Observatory & Video Wall

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What to read?

Prelims –  Indian Urban Observatory, Video Wall

Mains – Inevitability of Data and its management in Building Smart cities

India Urban Observatory & Video Wall was Inaugurated in Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Indian Urban Observatory

The India Urban Observatory is an important component of the recently launched DataSmart Cities strategy that envisions to create a ‘Culture of Data’ in cities, for intelligent use of data in addressing complex urban challenges. T

he strategy aims to lay down the basic premise, three foundational pillars vis. People, Process, Platform, and a suggested roadmap for cities to improve their readiness for intelligent use of data.

Need of Data in city building

  • Making cities ‘DataSmart’ is key to realizing the full potential of technology interventions and innovation ecosystems in cities. The DataSmart Cities Strategy also presents a Data Maturity Assessment Framework (DMAF), that measures the readiness and evolution of cities in their efforts to implementing the Data strategy.

  • The assessment of cities as per the DMAF will foster a culture of data and drive innovation in India’s Smart Cities through a spirit of collaboration and healthy competition.

  • The conceptualisation of this Observatory recognizes the value of enhancing engagement among all four stakeholders of the ‘quadruple-helix’ modelGovernment, citizens, academia, and industry, along with improvements in the internal workflow and decision-making processes of city Governments.

  • The Observatory will help in getting reliable, up-to-date information on a meaningful set of indicators over various domains such as transport, health, environment, water, finance and so on, which will further assist in developing best practices, future strategies and policy interventions as and when required.

Video Wall

It will showcase the insights gained from the Observatory and the various Missions/ offices with the idea to proactively engage with citizens/ visitors in spreading awareness about the various initiatives of the Ministry.


Topics Covered

1. Defence

50th Raising Day Celebration of CISF

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What to read?

Prelims – About CISF

The Prime Minister attended the 50th Raising Day celebrations of Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF), at Indirapuram in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.

  • The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) (established in its present form: 15 June 1983) is a Central Armed Police Force in India.

  • It was set up under an Act of the Parliament of India on 10 March 1969 with a strength of 2,800. CISF was subsequently made an armed force of the Republic of India by another Act of Parliament passed on 15 June 1983.

  • It is directly under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and its headquarters are at New Delhi.

  • The CISF provides security cover to 300 industrial units, government infrastructure projects and facilities and establishments located all over India.

  • Industrial sectors like atomic power plants, space installations, mines, oil fields and refineries, major ports, heavy engineering, steel plants, barrages, fertilliser units, airports and hydroelectric/thermal power plants owned and controlled by Central Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs), and currency note presses producing Indian currency are protected by CISF.

  • ISF also provides consultancy services to private industries as well as other organisations within the Indian government. The consulting wing has amongst its clients some of the renowned business houses and organisations of India.

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Note - Initially the recruitment and posting of Personnel to the CISF was restricted to men. In 1992 Mrs Asha Sinha earned the distinction of being the First Woman Commandant of a Central Armed Police Forces in India.


Topics Covered

1. Infrastructure – Tourism

India got First Prize at The International ‘Golden City Gate Tourism Awards 2019’

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What to read?

Prelims – About the award and Incredible India 2.0 campaign

The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has won the First Prize in the category of TV Cinema Spot at the prestigious international Golden City Gate Tourism Awards 2019 at  ITB, Berlin being held from the 6th to 10th March 2019.

Following promotional films / television commercials produced by the Ministry as part of its Incredible India 2.0 Campaign received the awards:

 i. Yogi of the Racetrack

ii. The Reincarnation of Mr. and Mrs. Jones

iii. Sanctuary in Paris

iv. Maharani of Manhattan  and

v. The Masala Master Chef

Golden City Gate Tourism Multi-media Awards

  • The Golden City Gate Tourism Multi-media Awards are given annually in various categories related to the Tourism and Hospitality sectors. The ‘Golden City Gate’ is a creative multi-media international competition for countries, cities, regions and hotels.

  • The entries received for the awards are judged by an international jury comprising film and tourism experts. The annual award ceremony takes place at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading tourism trade show.

Incredible India 2.0 Campaign

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  • The Ministry of Tourism has launched the Incredible India 2.0 Campaign in September 2017. The 2.0 Campaign marks a shift from generic promotions across the world to market specific promotional plans and content creation.

  • Thematic creatives on different Niche tourism products have been produced and are being used in the Campaign, to cater to diverse consumer interests.These include the above Television Commercials on Yoga, Wellness, Wildlife, Luxury and Cuisine, which have been very well received the world over, registering about 155 million views on social media.

  • The commercials have been produced in English with voice overs in 9 international languages, viz. German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Arabic.


Topics Covered

1. Science and Technology

NASA orbiter spots water molecules moving around the dayside of moon

Image result for NASA orbiter spots water molecules moving around the dayside of moon

What to read?

Prelims – Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mains – Highlights of the Observation and Significance of Lunar Water

Scientists, using NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), have observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the moon, the U.S. space agency said, an advance that could help us learn about accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future missions.

Highlights of the observation

  • Measurements from the Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) instrument aboard the LRO of the sparse layer of molecules temporarily stuck to the surface helped characterise lunar hydration changes over the course of a day.

  • Up until the last decade, scientists thought the moon was arid, with any water existing mainly as pockets of ice in permanently shaded craters near the poles.

  • More recently, scientists have identified surface water in sparse populations of molecules bound to the lunar soil. The amount varies based on the time of day.

  • Water molecules remain tightly bound to the regolith until surface temperatures peak near lunar noon.

  • This water is more common at higher latitudes and tends to hop around as the surface heats up.

  • Significance of Lunar water

    • These results aid in understanding the lunar water cycle and will ultimately help us learn about accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future missions to the moon.

    • Lunar water can potentially be used by humans to make fuel or to use for radiation shielding or thermal management; if these materials do not need to be launched from the earth, that makes these future missions more affordable.

    Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

    LRO Illustration over Moon

    The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is a NASA robotic spacecraft currently orbiting the Moon in an eccentric polar mapping orbit. Data collected by LRO has been described as essential for planning NASA's future human and robotic missions to the Moon.